Shoulder pain can be caused by a number of factors, it may be as simple as mild weakness in one of the muscles that make up the rotator cuff, leading to improper shoulder joint mechanics or as complex as a severe rotator cuff or labral tear as a result of repetitive stress injuries such as throwing a baseball. Shoulder joint pain frequently gets worse if not treated with a sense of urgency and ultimately may lead to major medical intervention. A few medical conditions like heart disease can also trigger shoulder pain that lingers for an extended period.
A few signs that should alert you to seek further medical attention and evaluation for shoulder pain may include the following: Is the strength of your shoulder limiting your ability to complete ordinary tasks, or are you experiencing abnormal levels of fatigue in the shoulder at the end of the day? Are you experiencing a loss of mobility in any direction the shoulder joint moves? This may be as simple as performing basic daily activities such as brushing your teeth or combing your hair. Does the shoulder feel like it is unstable or ready to pop out of the socket? Other noticeable signs of shoulder pain are pain in the shoulder blade, weakness in the hand, upper arm pain, as well pain which may range from a throbbing ache to a sharp pain during movement. All too often, early warning signs of shoulder pain go untreated and over time develop into a more complex situation, which may lead to a frozen shoulder or more severe rotator cuff tear.
Rotator Cuff Tear
The rotator cuff represents a group of four different muscles and adjoining tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. Shoulder joint tendons and muscles connect the shoulder blade to the upper arm bone. When one or more tendons and/or muscles tear, a painful rotator cuff injury ensues.
Osteoarthritis develops when impact cushioning cartilage degrades to the point that it can produce severe shoulder pain and loss of mobility. Unlike a traumatic shoulder injury, the development of osteoarthritis takes considerable time. Just because you have osteoarthritis in the shoulder, does not mean the pain you are experiencing is directly related to this diagnosis alone. In many cases the initial pain you experience in the early stages of the development of a chronic shoulder condition such as pain, weakness, and loss of mobility may lead to early osteoarthritis and this osteoarthritis may lead to further pain, weakness and loss of mobility, resulting in more severe osteoarthritic degenerative changes.
Diagnosing shoulder pain will include a series of questions that are answered by the patient about the onset and progression of the pain as well as things that may increase or decrease the pain. Shoulder pain specialists typically determine which types of movements trigger pain in the shoulder by observing and measuring movement of the joint as well as completing orthopedic testing to determine the source of the pain or impingement. You may also receive imaging tests to detect tears in the muscle or cartilage as well as degenerative changes such as osteoarthritis.
Small adjustments in how you move the shoulders goes a long way toward preventing pain. It is important to transition slowly into a new physical activity to give both shoulders time to adjust. Performing specific exercises for the shoulder on a regular basis builds the strength required to help stabilize the shoulder during normal daily and leisure activities. Modify the way you lift, especially over your head to prevent a rotator cuff injury. Although it is often difficult to prevent the onset of shoulder pain or arthritis, noticing it in the early stage of development gives your healthcare practitioner a head-start in developing a treatment plan that mitigates shoulder pain. The best thing you can do to prevent shoulder pain is to maintain strength and flexibility. Here are a few ways to help you with this.
- First assess for loss of movement in all planes to determine possible frozen shoulder onset
- Scapular stabilization training
- Rotator cuff exercises with water bottle
- Doorway stretch for chest and shoulder
- Wall stretch into flexion and abduction using towel
Treatment Options for Shoulder Pain in Mesa, AZ
Although cutting edge surgical techniques receive most of the publicity for treating shoulder pain, at The Center For Total Back Care we focus on treating shoulder pain by using non-invasive, non-surgical techniques. The combination of physical therapy and chiropractic solutions prevent pain from lingering after the completion of a thorough diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitation program. Our clinic can also provide high quality care for those who need physical therapy following shoulder surgery. Any type of shoulder pain is abnormal, so don’t wait to see if your shoulder pain will resolve on its own, call for an evaluation and start your treatment today at (480) 633-8293.